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Many Greek colonists, for example, married or employed their non-Greek neighbors, and in some families one could find not only Greek names, but also Persian and local Semitic ones, as well.5 Furthermore, because Semitic religions were tolerated under Seleucid rule, the spiritual life of the city was marked early on by the worship of both Greek and eastern deities (sometimes fused together).6

Although Europos was small in size, its location made control of the city essential for any "nation" which wished to establish a firm presence in Syria. As a result, its history was marked by periodic and dramatic shifts in leadership. By the late 2nd century B.C.E., Europos had been taken from the Seleucids by the Parthian Persians, who governed the city during its most prosperous period.7 Its greatest temples were built during the Parthian era, as were a considerable number of private homes, suggesting that Europos was growing both in popularity and in population.8 Trade taxes were instituted for the first time; however, the wealth these taxes brought in was limited to a small number of residents, mainly Parthian officials and aristocratic Greek landowners and merchants.9 Much of the city's indigenous Mesopotamian population, which worked as independent artisans or were employed by the wealthier citizens of Europos, continued to live on a very low income.10 The city, as the seat of the local Parthian governor, acted as a minor political center, while relations with neighboring Palmyra developed, and the Semitic and Persian elements expanded within the city's growing cultural milieu.11 Despite this, however, Hellenistic culture and the Greek language continued to dominate Europos. 12

We know that by the 1st century B.C.E., if not earlier, the religious mosaic of Europos included Jews because coins dating to the Hasmonean period have been discovered at the site by archaeologists.13 (The claim made that Judaism came to the city only when the Romans did is incorrect.14 ) Jewish communities began to form throughout the Diaspora at the beginning of the Hellenistic period when localized social groups, such as funerary societies and trade guilds, became increasingly popular.15 Though there is no architectural evidence of a defined Jewish community in Europos at this time, A. T. Kraabel has suggested that the Jews of our city were


5. Matheson, 7; Rostovtzeff (1932), 206-207.
6. Matheson, 7.
7. Kilpatrick, 215; Matheson, 15.
8. Matheson, 15; Rostovtzeff (1932), 104-105; Welles. 253.
9. Matheson, 35; Rostovtzeff (1932), 104-105, 197-198.
10. Matheson, 35; Rostovtzeff (1932), 197-198.
11. Jensen, 179; Matheson, 15; Welles, 253.
12. Rostovtzeff (1932), 104; Welles, 253.
13. White, 93.
14. Gates, 167-168; Matheson, 31.
15. Kraabel (1987), 52-53.

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